6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia
University of King's College Archives
The history of the University of King’s College Archives is inextricably bound with that of the Library.
The University of King’s College Library was established in 1799 by the Rt Rev’d Dr. Charles Inglis, the first Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia. Inglis had founded the University in Windsor ten years earlier in 1789, but it was not until 1799 that an effort was made to purchase books. His son, John Inglis, travelled to England in 1800 to solicit funds and books for the Library and to obtain the Royal Charter. This was achieved in 1802.
The first catalogue, handwritten and illustrated, was created in 1803 and is preserved in the current archives. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the Library continued adding to its collection: books, records of the university (e.g. Board of Governors minute books, records of student societies, papers and artifacts from alumni and professors, photographs), incunabula, medieval manuscripts, natural history specimens, historical artifacts, and artworks. When the college in Windsor was destroyed by fire in 1920, the Library was saved. In the 1920s King’s entered into an agreement with Dalhousie University and was rebuilt on part of the Studley Campus in Halifax. The Library collections were transferred to Halifax and occupied the 3rd floor of the Arts and Administration Building. In time, the collection outgrew its space and parts of the collection were housed in various locations throughout the college.
The collections of the Library, Archives, and Museum were reunited when the current Library building was opened in May 1991. The new University of King’s College Library and Archives was built to commemorate the bicentennial of the university. The building was designed and built to house rare and fragile materials in the climate controlled “Treasure Room” on the lower level. Since that time several finding aids have been compiled (see below). The King’s College Archives is the depository for inactive records of the University that have permanent administrative, legal, financial, or historical value.
Finding aids for the following collections of archival records are available on MemoryNS, searchable by fond.
Alumni Association of the University of King’s College fonds (1845-2008)
Andrew Doane Merkel correspondence (1900-1953)
King’s Students’ Union fonds, including student societies (1890-2008)
Owsley Robert Rowley Anglican episcopal correspondence collection (1795-1939)
University of King’s College architectual records collection (1794-2008)
University of King’s College athletic records collection (1969-2009)
University of King’s College Board of Governors (1787-2009)
University of King’s College central filing system (1885-1963)
University of King’s College Convocation (1954-1987)
University of King’s College photograph collection (1867-1996)
University of King’s College Registrar’s Office (1803-2010)
University of King’s College School of Divinity (1928-1977)
University of King’s College School of Journalism (1945-2012)
Weldon Collection of Pottery and Porcelain guide. 36 pp. Halifax, NS. The Library, University of King’s College, 1993.
9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Closed on holidays. Please visit our website or social media for details. Pre-booking is required for retrieval of materials.
Access to records containing confidential or personal information is restricted. Archival materials do not circulate. Patrons must provide their name and contact information when requesting items and will view all archival materials in the Rare Book Consulting Room on the main floor of the Library.
King's College is accessible by Halifax Transit. Parking is available in the quad, please visit the receptionist in the Arts and Administration Building for a visitor pass. The Library and Archives building is wheelchair-accessible.
Staff in the King's College Archives will provide reference services and do limited searching to identify materials of interest to users, but the Archives does not provide research services.
A scanner and photocopier are available onsite. Please consult with staff, particularly when inquiring about reproducing fragile or very large items such as maps and architectural plans.
Free Wi-Fi is available, please ask staff if you require a guest login.